Final Push



It’s been three weeks since my last entry and I can’t promise that it won’t be another three weeks until the next one. A lot’s been going on, including a 5-day semi-vacation in Gloucester, Mass., where Alice, Eden and I stayed with Alice’s brother Luke at the spectacular house he lives in on the Massachusetts coast.

I say it was a semi-vacation because I also visited my dad a couple of times while I was there, making the two-hour roundtrip drive to the VA hospital in Bedford, Mass., where he’s stationed (since he’s with a bunch of old soldiers that seems the appropriate term) in the dementia unit. Though the staff there is wonderful, it’s not a place that he ever wanted to wind up or we ever wanted him to wind up. But his dementia has advanced to the point where he really needs round-the-clock supervision to keep him safe, and this seemed like the best option. It’s a sad situation, and although both my sister and I have tried to make peace with it, there’s a certain degree of denial involved. We have a lot of friends who are going through the same kind of heartache with one or both of their parents. All I can say is that I hope to hell Eden doesn’t have to deal with a similar reality when I’m an old bastard. Or should I say an older bastard than I am now?

Back in the city, I was suddenly inundated with editing work, two books, one a memoir, one a novel, that both have real potential but need a fair amount of work that hopefully I can supply and/or outline. At the same time, as I wrote in an earlier entry, I’m trying to finish my own novel. I fear I wrote too soon about how I wasn’t going to let anything derail this final push, because as soon as wrote that, I got slightly derailed. The other thing that happened to slow down my progress was that Alice landed a great job. I don’t want to talk about it publicly at this point, but trust me, it’s great (do I sound a little bit like a certain presidential candidate there?), and we’re both thrilled. The only downside  is that it’s put more of a burden on me as far as carrying the load on household chores and childcare. Am I making excuses? I probably am.

Speaking of certain presidential candidates, the other major distraction has been this crazy political season. Watching it unfold is a bit like driving past an accident on the highway. I can’t seem to take my eyes off it. It’s bloody and gruesome and awful and riveting. And I’m addicted to reading about it wherever I can, hearing other people’s opinions on Facebook, watching video clips of both the candidates themselves and all the commentators and comedians who are lapping it all up. The other night I had a long, contentious but ultimately worthwhile and satisfying conversation with an old friend who is supporting Hillary (I’m a Bernie guy). We each have our different opinions but we were able to listen to one another, which I’m afraid is becoming a lost art in the emotion-charged world we’re living in.

This morning, I dropped off Eden at school and now I’ve got until pickup at three to do my thing. But Monday mornings after the weekend are always tough. Resistance is strong. What I’m doing here is a sort of palate cleanser. A warming up exercise to get me back into my writing head. At any rate, I probably won’t be hanging out around here much during this final push. Wish me luck!

By Peter Alson

Peter Alson is a writer and editor. Among his published books are the memoirs Confessions of an Ivy League Bookie and Take Me to the River. He's also co-authored (with Nolan Dalla) One of a Kind, a biography of poker champion Stuey Ungar, and Atlas, the autobiography of boxing trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas. His articles have appeared in many national magazines, including Esquire, Playboy and The New York Times. He has worked as a writer for People magazine, and as an editor for Playboy and for Hachette Publications. He has written screenplays for Paramount and various independent producers, and his TV pilot, Nicky’s Game, starring John Ventimiglia and Burt Young, appeared in the New York Television Festival and the Vail Film Festival. As a poker player he has finished in the money numerous times in the World Series of Poker and other events. He lives in New York with his wife, Alice, and their daughter, Eden.

5 replies on “Final Push”

Wish you all the luck and success too. Just be careful about not piling your plate so high you can’t do any of it well. See you on the court, hopefully.


Peter. We are living parallel lives. Up at 5:45 to make Gabys lunch and breakfast, drive her to school, come home in the rain, go back to bed for two hours, make coffee, then to my desk where I have 6 huge and very compelling and fascinating cases piled up. But writer’s block sets in often. I will email you thoughts about your dad, having a young daughter and the flight of time.


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